THE Scottish SPCA has launched a new initiative to support struggling pet owners during the cost-of-living crisis.

Calls to the charity’s animal helpline to give up pets have more than trebled in the first half of this year.

The new ‘Pet Aid’ pilot will see regular deliveries of pet food to 13 foodbanks in 12 local authorities.

In Glasgow, pet food will be available from ‘The Access HUB’ on Argyle Street.

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Kirsteen Campbell, Scottish SPCA chief executive, said: “Pet Aid will provide an invaluable service to people and pets feeling the full brunt of the cost-of-living crisis.

“This year, our inspectors have had to support pet owners in some horrendous situations.

“We’re helping people who are not buying food for themselves so they can feed their pet, who are calling our animal helpline in floods of tears because they feel they’ve let their animal down.

“Pet Aid is part of our wider commitment to early intervention when it comes to protecting animals. Wherever possible, we will act to stop a person feeling they have no choice but to give up their pet.”

In the first six months of 2021, the charity received 194 calls to take in a dog from an owner.

In the same period in 2022, this figure has risen by 261 per cent to 700.

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Its animal rescue and rehoming centres have seen a rise in certain types of animals coming into care, including the number of dogs increasing by 15 per cent compared to 2021.

Kirsteen added: “Pet Aid will provide vital supplies of pet food to people. We’ll evaluate how the pilot goes, work with partners and speak to pet owners to understand what additional help they could benefit from.

“This will inform how Pet Aid grows in the months and years to come.”

A full list of foodbanks working with Pet Aid and more information about the pilot can be found by clicking here.